First and foremost, let me express my heartfelt thanks to all those that supported me through my 550 Mile Cycle Challenge. To all those who supported me through donations via these pages I would like to say a big Thank You: both the charities (End Polio Now & Bruce Trust Barges) and I genuinely appreciate it. For those who supported me during my training and the event itself, I also say Thank You: without such support, I wouldn’t have been able to make it.
I’m not going to make out it was easy because it wasn’t. In fact it was harder than I thought it would be. The combination of daily long distances, temperatures as high as 105f and a worsening state of my lungs [now only 47% effective] did take its toll. But there are others worse off than me, which is why I take on [and complete] these challenges.
We left Hungerford at the allotted time (mid-day) to head for the Ferry Terminal in Portsmouth where we were to encounter our first challenge of getting 6 bicycles and 7 passengers into a 2-berth camper van along with all the associated luggage and provisions including 18 Kilos of Bananas(!), 20 gallons of fresh water, and a week’s supply of energy bards and Haribo sweets, all donated by Tesco. One big problem however was that the cycle rack on the van was only designed for three bikes, but with the aid of numerous zip ties, we were able to extend the rack’s capacity to 6 . I’m not sure if we could have taken to the public highway, but for boarding a ferry, it was ideal.
Each day thereafter brought with it, its own challenges, low points and high points. The challenges, in the main, were distances and hills combined with high temperatures. The highpoint, for us all, was the reception we received from Hungerford’s Twin Town of Ligueil, with a Mayoral reception: they certainly know how to lay on a barbeque and their hospitality (including the local wine) was second to none. The low point? It has to be me being taken out by a stupid driver who clearly wasn’t yet awake. As I was navigation round a roundabout, using the well-marked cycle lane, a Renault 4 failed to spot me (a great big overweight cyclists in garish cycle clothes on a garish bicycle), and turned off the roundabout taking me with it. I was only bruised and winded but with a dented pride I just lay there gathering my thoughts before getting back up and continuing with my journey.
Other notable moments included cycling along one of the Tour de France Stage Routes where camper vans and tents were already in place ready for the real cyclists to come through the next day. They all came out and cheered and clapped us on. We had great support from the French motorists, apart from the occasional Renault, even to the extent of 18-wheelers stopping, without need, to let us cross roads. We had one closed hotel leaving us to invoke our continuity plan and switch to an alternate, which was actually better. We even had passers by simply giving us money for the charities.
All too soon however, the ride was over and we headed back to England and Hungerford to a fantastic welcoming committee laid on by the local Rotarians and Bruce Trust Barges plus many more well-wishers, all of whom plied us with drink and cakes (I think there was sandwiches as well). And then, it was over: we all dispersed and went home to rest and then rest some more.
All in all, it was a great but tiring week.
The scheduled mileage actually changed due to navigational errors with one day extending to 97 miles (actually, this was the day I was lost the fight with the Renault) so all in all, a very tyring J week.
Once more, my thanks for your support and special thanks for reading this far J
This is one very weary cyclists signing off, with a heavy heart. Maybe the heavy heart explains why I put on 5lbs in weight. I can’t think of any other reason.
Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
Despite being closer to 60 that I care to admit, and, despite being closer to Billy Bunter that I care to admit, I have agreed to take on the challenge of cycling 550 (ish) miles: ['ish' because I often get lost] Hungerford UK to Ligueil in France and back to Hungerford.
I'm doing this because I have spent close to 60 years in this world and I feel once again that I need to do something to give something back. So, I want do something for an international cause [End Polio Now] and a local cause [Bruce Trust Barges].
To do this, I need to lose 2 stone, which will be my first challenge while getting back on my bike. It won't be easy, but if it was easy, it wouldn't be a challenge, but it is a challenge and one that I will conquer.
Details of the event itself can be found at www.wheelsforrotary.com
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
So please dig deep and donate now.